The denial of a gay teen’s prom proposal has led to a viral discussion on whether the denial was based on distraction or discrimination.
A prom proposal — shortened to promposal — is where one student asks another to be their date to prom in a creative or inventive way. The practice has increased in recent years as students have continue to share their promposals on social media.
On the morning of March 25, sophomore Casey Akers claims an assistant principal approved her idea to prompose to her friend, senior Cookie Valentine. However, both KISD and TCHS officials have stated that the district does not grant permission for promposals.
When the promposal was to occur during fifth period lunch, Akers was told by assistant principals that she was not allowed to prompose in the cafeteria.
Upon asking why her promposal was not allowed, Akers said her question was met with a very vague: “It’s just not appropriate,” by administrators in the cafeteria.
Because a number of public promposals have occurred in the past, Akers felt as though the administrators’ decision was made because she is gay and her date would be a girl.
“I definitely feel like, if I were a guy asking a girl, there wouldn’t be a problem,” Akers told a Talon reporter.
Later that day, junior Morgan Lyon tweeted the hashtag #LetCaseyPromposal, and the tweet—as well as news of the incident—went viral almost immediately. Within less than 24 hours, Akers had gained nationwide support and media coverage.
After #LetCaseyPromposal became trending on Twitter and the story was covered by the Daily Dot, Keller ISD released the following statement condemning the act of promposals, claiming that they “may create a disruption to the academic setting.”
However, Timber Creek students aren’t strangers to watching public displays of promposing. In fact, during the 2013-14 school year, four were included in the yearbook, including one done on school grounds that involved a large paper sign hanging down from a balcony at the end of the main hall and rose petals scattered down the hallway. Many Timber Creek students have admitted to witnessing promposals, both in the lunchroom and in the classroom.
These promposals, according to both Keller ISD and TCHS administration, were done without district consent.
In a panel interview with Talon reporters, a Timber Creek administrator confirmed that promposals in the past have happened without administrator approval or knowledge. The administrator explained the district policy of denying permission to promposals even before the KISD statement was released.
While Talon reporters were able to speak to a TCHS administrator during a panel interview, the administrator who allegedly told Akers she couldn’t prompose did not respond to a request for a student interview.
Despite the denial of the lunchroom proposal, no KISD or Timber Creek administrators have said Akers could not attend prom, nor have they indicated she could not attend with a same-sex date. During the panel interview with Talon reporters, a Timber Creek administrator said they witnessed same-sex couples attending prom and other dances in the past.
Talon Reporters Zoe Ross and Emily Gogle contributed to this report. Portions of this report involved multiple Talon reporters during an interview with an administrator. Additional information and images collected from Keller ISD and The Creek Yearbook.